Ancient Diocese of Lisieux

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The Diocese of Lisieux was a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in France, centered on Lisieux, in Calvados.

The bishop of Lisieux was the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lisieux. The first known Bishop of Lisieux is one Theodibandes, mentioned in connection with a council held in 538.

The bishopric was suppressed during the French revolution and was not reinstated. Present day Lisieux is part of the Diocese of Bayeux.


A list of alleged early bishops of Lisieux was included in the Ritual of Lisieux, published in 1661 under the direction of Bishop Léonor (I ) Goyon de Matignon. The list, however, was padded with the names of saints whose putative relics were stored in the Cathedral. These included Saint Ursinus,[1] Saint Patrick and Saint Cande, none of whom can be shown to have been a bishop.[2] The Bishop of Lisieux was ex-officio Conservator of the University of Caen.

The Chapter of the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre was composed of nine dignities and thirty Canons. The dignities were: the Dean, the Cantor, the Treasurer, the Capicerio, the Magister Scholarum, and the four Archdeacons (Lieuven, Auge, Pont-Audemer, and Gacé). All were appointed by the bishop, except the Dean, who was elected by the Chapter. There were thirty-one prebends, the first eleven of whom were called 'Barons'. The Cathedral also had four Vicars and thirty chaplains.[3]

The diocese of Lisieux contained 487 parishes and 520 rectories.[4] The diocese had six abbeys for men and two for women. Five of the abbeys belonged to the Order of Saint Benedict (Saint-Evroul, Bernay, Préaux, Grestain,[5] Cormeilles). The Premonstratensians had an abbey at Mont-Dée (Mondaye). The two convents for women belonged to the Order of Saint Benedict (Saint-Léger,[6] Saint-Désir[7]).

A synod was held at Lisieux in 1055 by the Papal Legate, Bishop Hermanfried of Sion, with the cooperation of Duke William the Bastard (future king of England), in which Archbishop Malgerius of Rouen was deposed. His dissolute life was notorious, he had refused to attend a Roman Council though summoned, and he made rebellion against the Duke. The deposition had already been agreed to by Pope Leo IX.[8]

In the middle of October 1106, King Henry I of England visited Lisieux, where he held an assembly of the leaders of the duchy of Normandy, both lay and ecclesiastical. He dealt with the disorders which had been caused by his brother Robert, taking hostages (who were sent to England) including Duke Robert, and condemning to imprisonment for life Count Guillaume Werlenc of Mortain,[9] Robert d'Estouteville,[10] and several others.[11]

The Collége de Lisieux was founded at Paris in 1336 by Bishop Guy de Harcourt, Bishop of Lisieux, by testamentary bequest, and with additional endowments from three members of the d'Estouteville family. It supported twenty-four poor students of the diocese. It lasted until 1764, when it was transferred to the Collège de Dormans.[12]

In August 1417, King Henry V of England besieged, captured and sacked the city of Lisieux. When the Bishop of Lisieux, Pierre Fresnel, was killed in street fighting in Paris on 12 June 1418, King Henry considered it a good moment to install a bishop in Lisieux who would be favorable to the English cause. His wishes ran contrary to those of Pope Martin V, leading to the appointment of Cardinal Branda Castiglione as administrator of the diocese. When Henry died on 31 August 1422, Martin V was able to appoint Castiglione's nephew as the bishop.[13]

List of bishops[edit]

To 1000[edit]

  • Theudobaudis c. 538–c. 549[14]
  • Edibius ? (between 557 and 573)[15]
  • Ætherius c. 560?[16]
  • Chamnegisilus (or Launomundus) (c. 614)[17]
  • Launebaud (Launobaud) 9c. 644)[18]
  • Hincho (c. 660)[19]
  • [Leudebold (Léodebold)] (c. 662)[20]
  • Freculf (823/5–850/2)[21]
  • Airard (Hairard) c. 853–c. 880[22]
  • Roger (Rogier) c. 985–1022 or c. 980–c. 1018[23]

1000 to 1300[edit]

[Thomas of Lisieux - son of Ranulf Flambard][29]
  • John 1107–1141
  • Arnulf (Arnoul) of Lisieux 1141–1181, statesman and writer
  • Raoul de Varneville 1182–1191 or 1192[30]
  • Guillaume de Ruffière (Rupière) 1192–1201[31]
  • Jourdain du Houmet (Hommet) 1202–1218[32]
  • Guillaume Du Pont-de-L'Arche 1218–1250[33]
  • Foulque D'Astin 1250–1267[34]
  • Guy du Merle 1267–1285[35]
  • Guillaume D'Asnières 1285–1298[36]
  • Jean de Samois, O.Min. 1299–1302[37]

1300 to 1500[edit]

  • Guy D'Harcourt 1303–1336[38]
  • Guillaume de Charmont 1336–49[39]
  • Guillaume Guitard 1349–1358[40]
  • Jean de Dormans 1359–1361[41]
  • Adhémar Robert 1361–1368[42]
  • Alphonse Chevrier 1369–1377[43]
  • Nicole Oresme 1377–1382[44]
  • Guillaume d'Estouteville 1382–1415[45]
  • Pierre Fresnel 1415–1418[46]
  • Mathieu Du Bosc 1418–1419[47]
  • Branda Castiglione (Cardinal) 1420–1424 (Administrator)[48]
  • Zénon Castiglione 1424–1432[49]
  • Pierre Cauchon 1432–1442[50]
  • Pasquier de Vaux 1443–1447[51]
  • Thomas Basin 1447–1474[52]
  • Antoine Raguier 1475–1482[53]
  • Etienne Blosset de Carrouges 1482–1505[54]

From 1500[edit]

[Denys Rouxel][57]
  • Jean de Vassé 1580–1583[58]
  • Anne de Pérusse D'Escars de Giury, O.S.B. 1589–1598 (Cardinal)[59]
  • François Rouxel de Médavy 1600–1617[60]
  • Guillaume du Vair 1618–1621[61]
  • Guillaume Aleaume (Alleaume) 1622–1634[62]
  • Philippe Cospeau 1636–1646[63]
  • Léonor I Goyon de Matignon 1646–1674[64]
  • Léonor II Goyon de Matignon 1675–1714[65]
  • Henri-Ignace de Brancas 1714–1760[66]
  • Jacques Marie de Caritat de Condorcet 1761–1783[67]
  • Jules-Basile Perron (Ferron) de La Ferronays 1783–1790[68]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ursinus' relics were brought from Bourges under Bishop Hugues (1050–1077), nephew of Duke Robert II of Normandy. Guillaume Bassin, Concilia Rotomagensia (Rouen: apud Franciscum Vaultier 1717), p. 475 column 2.
  2. ^ Gallia christiana XI, p. 762. Fisquet, p. 220.
  3. ^ Gallia christiana XI, p. 762. Fisquet, pp. 220-221.
  4. ^ Cf. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 243 note 1.
  5. ^ Léchaud d'Anisy, Les anciens abbayes de Normandie Tome II (Caen: E. Brunet 1824), pp. 1-3.
  6. ^ Gallia christiana XI, pp. 853-855.
  7. ^ Gallia christiana XI, pp. 855-857.
  8. ^ J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, Tomus XIX (Venice 1774), pp. 837-840. C. J. Hefele, Histoire des conciles IV. 2 (Paris: Letouzey 1911), pp. 1121-1122.
  9. ^ C. Warren Hollister (2008). Henry I. Yale University Press. pp. 182–183, 199–201, 204–206. ISBN 978-0-300-14372-0.
  10. ^ James Robinson Planché (1874). The Conqueror and His Companions. Vol. II. London: Tinsley brothers. pp. 253–258.
  11. ^ J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, Tomus XX (Venice 1775), pp. 1209-1210.
  12. ^ The History of Paris, from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Volume II. Paris: A. and W. Galignani. 1832. p. 268.
  13. ^ Louis François Du Bois, Histoire de Lisieux, Vol. 1, p. 130. Bernard Guenée (1991). Between Church and State: The Lives of Four French Prelates in the Late Middle Ages. University of Chicago Press. pp. 290–294. ISBN 978-0-226-31032-9.
  14. ^ Theudobaudis (Theodibandes, Theudebaud, Theudobaud, Thibaud) was present at the Council of Orléans (538), was represented at the Council of Orléans of 541, and was present at the Council of Orléans of 549. Gallia christiana XI, p. 763. Fisquet, p. 223. Duchesne, II, p. 236 no. 1. C. De Clercq, Concilia Galliae, A. 511 – A. 695 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), pp. 129, 145, 159.
  15. ^ Duchesne, p. 236 no.2, notes that, when Bishop Theudobaudus was unable to attend the Council of Paris in 541, he sent the priest Edibius in his place. A Bishop Edibius subscribes to the decrees of the Council of Paris that met at some point between 557 and 573. De Clercq, pp. 145, 210.
  16. ^ Due to excessive indulgence of a sexually corrupt cleric, Aetherius was attacked and imprisoned by some of his own clergy. He escaped and fled to the kingdom of Guntram. Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum Book VI, chapter 36 (ca. 584). Gallia christiana XI, pp. 763-764. Fisquet, pp. 223-225. Duchesne, p. 236 no. 3.
  17. ^ The subscription list of the Council of Paris of 614 show: ex civitate Loxouia Chamnegisilus and a little later ex civitate Loxouias Launomundus. One of the two was Bishop of Lisieux. Duchesne, p. 236, no. 4. De Clercq, pp. 281, 282.
  18. ^ Bishop Launobaudus was present at the Council of Chalon-sur-Saône, which took place between 647 and 653. Duchesne, p. 236, no. 5. De Clercq, p. 309.
  19. ^ Hincho signed a charter in 660. Duchesne, p. 237, no. 6.
  20. ^ A bishop of Lisieux signed a privilege in 664, but the name of the bishop is not given. Gallia christiana XI, p. 764. Duchesne, p. 237, note 1.
  21. ^ Freculf was a pupil of the palace school founded by Charlemagne, and author of a universal history. Gallia christiana XI, pp. 764-765. Fisquet, pp. 225-227. Duchesne, p. 237, no. 7.
  22. ^ Hairardus: Gallia christiana XI, p. 765. Fisquet, p. 227.
  23. ^ Rogerius: Gallia christiana XI, pp. 765-766. Fisquet, pp. 227-228. Gams, p. 566 column 1.
  24. ^ Bishop Robert was promoted to the See of Coutances, where he is found in 1025. Fisquet, pp. 228-229.
  25. ^ Bishop Herbert was transferred from Coutances to Lisieux. Fisquet, pp. 229-231.
  26. ^ Hugues was the natural son of Guillaume Comte d'Eu. He blessed the Abbot of Saint-Evroul on 5 October 1350. He died on 17 July 1077, according to Orderic Vitalis. Fisquet, pp. 231-234.
  27. ^ Maminot was one of the bishops who participated in the dedication of the new church of the Abbey of Bec by Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury on 23 October 1077. He died in August 1101. Fisquet, pp. 235-237.
  28. ^ Fulcher was brother of Ranulf Flambard. Spear "The Norman Empire and the Secular Clergy" Journal of British Studies p. 5. He was consecrated by Archbishop William of Rouen in June 1102, and died in January 1103. Schriber The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux p. 26-27. Oderic Vitalis says of Fulcher, "He was almost illiterate and had been picked out of the court for the bishopric by his brother's influence." William M. Aird (2011). Robert `Curthose', Duke of Normandy (C. 1050-1134). Boydell Press. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-1-84383-660-5. Gallia christiana XI, pp. 771-772.
  29. ^ Spear, p. 5. Thomas was a child of twelve, who was placed in the See of Lisieux by his father, Ranulf, Bishop of Durham. The Archbishop of Rouen and the Bishop of Évreux, however, considered Thomas' elevation uncanonical, and ordered the expulsion of Ranulf and his sons and a canonical election of a bishop. Fisquet, p. 237.
  30. ^ Varneville was Chancellor of the King of England (1173-1177), Treasurer of York, and Treasurer and Archdeacon of Rouen. Fisquet, p. 250-251.
  31. ^ Ruffière died on 19 October 1201. Fisquet, p. 251-253.
  32. ^ Houmet: Fisquet, p. 254-255. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  33. ^ Du Pont-de-L'Arche: Fisquet, p. 256-257. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  34. ^ D'Astin: Fisquet, p. 257-258. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  35. ^ Du Merle: Fisquet, p. 258-259. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  36. ^ Guillaume d'Asnières was elected following the death of Bishop de Merle on 25 April 1285. He died on 25 August 1298. Fisquet, p. 260. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  37. ^ Samois was transferred from the diocese of Rennes (1298–1299) on 3 February 1299 by Pope Boniface VIII, after rejecting the choice of the Cathedral Chapter, Canon Henri de Tilly. He died on 4 December 1302. Fisquet, pp. 260-261. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  38. ^ Harcourt: Fisquet, pp. 261-263.
  39. ^ Charmont: Fisquet, pp. 263-264.
  40. ^ Guitart had been Bishop of Saint-Paul-trois-Châteaux (1348-1349). He was transferred to the diocese of Lisieux on 4 November 1349 by Pope Innocent VI. He was still alive on 12 June 1358, but he fled disorders in his diocese and sought refuge in Avignon, where he was killed in a house fire. Fisquet, p. 264. Eubel, I, pp. 304, 497.
  41. ^ Dormans had been Canon of Soissons, Meaux, and Beauvais, as well as Archdeacon of Senlis. He was Chancellor of the Dauphin. He was appointed Bishop of Lisieux on 19 November 1358 by Pope Innocent VI, and transferred to the diocese of Beauvais on 12 July 1359. In 1364 he was an executor of the Testament of King John II of France, and he assisted at the coronation of King Charles V as a Peer of France. He was Chancellor of France. He was named a cardinal on 22 September 1368 by Pope Urban V. He died on 7 November 1373. Formeville, II, p. 128. Fisquet, pp. 264-268. Eubel, I, pp. 21 no. 9; 132; 304.
  42. ^ Robert was granted his bulls on 12 July 1359 by Innocent VI. He was transferred to the diocese of Arras on 11 October 1368. He died as Archbishop of Sens on 25 January 1384. Fisquet, pp. 268-269. Eubel, I, pp. 116, 304.
  43. ^ Chevrier: Fisquet, pp. 269-270. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  44. ^ Fisquet, pp. 270-274. Eubel, I, p. 304. François Neveux, "Nicole Oresme et le clergé normand du XIVe siècle," Revue historique 281 (1989), pp. 51-75. (JSTOR) (in French)
  45. ^ Estouteville's brother Thomas was Bishop of Beauvais, and his brother Estold was Abbot of Fécamp. They were related to the celebrated Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville (d. 1483). Guillaume had been Bishop of Évreux (1374) at the age of twenty, and Bishop of Auxerre (1376). On 13 September 1382 he was transferred to the diocese of Lisieux. He died on 10 January 1415. Fisquet, pp. 274-276. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  46. ^ Fresnel was transferred from the diocese of Noyon (1409–1415) to Lisieux on 28 January 1415 by Pope John XXIII. He died in Paris in a riot on 12 June 1418 between the partisans of the Duc d'Orléans and the Duc de Bourgogne. Fisquet, pp. 276-278. Eubel, I, p. 304.
  47. ^ Du Bosc was the nephew of Nicolas du Bosc, Chancellor of France. He signed his Last Will and Testament on 23 September 1418. This is the only evidence of his episcopate. Fisquet, p. 278.
  48. ^ Branda Castiglione studied law and then taught Canon Law at the University of Pavia. He was named Bishop of Piacenza on 16 August 1404 by Pope Boniface IX (Roman Obedience). He was deposed, however, by Pope Gregory XII in July 1409, when he turned out to be a supporter of the Council of Pisa, which had deposed Gregory XII in June. Pope Alexander V paid no attention to the deposition of Branda, nor did John XXIII who named him a cardinal on 6 June 1411. He was appointed Administrator of the diocese of Lisieux on 29 June 1420 by Pope Martin V, who was in serious disagreement with the English King Henry V, who was promoting John Langdon as his candidate for the vacant diocese of Lisieux. Margaret M. Harvey (1993). England, Rome, and the Papacy, 1417-1464: The Study of a Relationship. Manchester University Press. pp. 132–133. ISBN 978-0-7190-3459-6. During most of Castiglione's administration he was Papal Legate in Bohemia. He resigned the diocese of Lisieux in favor of his nephew on 12 April 1424. He was appointed Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina on 14 March 1431. He died on 4 February 1433. Fisquet, pp. 279-280. Eubel, I, pp. 33 no. 8; 304 with note 5; 401.
  49. ^ Zeno Castiglione of Milan was the nephew of his predecessor, Cardinal Branda Castiglione, and a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law). He was appointed by Pope Martin V on 12 April 1424. He was transferred to the diocese of Bayeux on 29 January 1432. He died on 11 September 1459. Fisquet, pp. 72-75. Eubel, I, p. 304; II, p. 101.
  50. ^ Cauchon had been Bishop of Beauvais. He was transferred to the diocese of Lisieux on 29 January 1432. He died on 18 December 1442. Fisquet, pp. 280-284. Eubel, II, p. 176.
  51. ^ De Vaux: Fisquet, pp. 284-286. Eubel, II, p. 176.
  52. ^ Basin was forced into exile by King Louis XI in 1466, and resigned his diocese to Pope Sixtus IV on 27 May 1474. He was appointed titular Archbishop of Cesarea instead. Fisquet, pp. 286-292. Eubel, II, p. 176. Adalbert Maurice (1953). Un Grand patriote, Thomas Basin, évêque de Lisieux, conseiller de Charles VII...: Sa vie et ses écrits... (in French). Imprimerie commerciale de la vigie de Dieppe. Georgette de Groër (1984). "La formation de Thomas Basin en Italie et le début de sa carrière". Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes. 142: 271–285. JSTOR 42960206.
  53. ^ Raguier: Fisquet, pp. 292-294. Eubel, II, p. 176.
  54. ^ Blosset: Fisquet, pp. 294-295. Eubel, II, p. 176.
  55. ^ Le Veneur was the son of Philippe, Baron de Tillières, and Marie Blosset, sister of Bishop Blosset, Le Veneur's predecessor. Jean's brother Ambroise was Bishop of Évreux (1511–1532). He was approved on 27 June 1505. Le Veneur was named a cardinal by Pope Clement VII on 7 November 1533. Fisquet, pp. 295-298. Eubel, III, p. 224.
  56. ^ Hennuyer was born in 1497 at Saint-Quentin en Vermandois. He was doctor of theology of the Sorbonne (1539). He was a tutor of the future Henri II of France, and was preceptor of Antoine de Bourbon, father of the future Henri IV. In 1540 he was given the chair in theology at the Collège de Navarre in Paris. He was named Grand Aumonier of Henri II in 1552, and was confessor of Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis, and Henri II. In 1556 he became Dean of S.-Germain-l'-Auxerrois. He was named Bishop of Lodève in 1558, but before he could receive his bulls he was appointed Bishop of Lisieux on 29 January 1560, and was installed by proxy on 11 January 1561. He arrived in Lisieux on 25 March. Though he was a strong adversary of the Protestants, he protected the Huguenots in his diocese after the Saint-Bartholomew Massacre of August 1572. He died on 12 March 1578. Auguste Bordeaux (1842), Recherches historiques et critiques sur Jean Le Hennuyer, évêque et comte de Lisieux Lisieux: J.J. Pigeon (in French). Fisquet, pp. 299-302. C. Osmont de Courtisigny (1877). "Jean Le Hennuyer et les Huguenots de Lisieux en 1572". Bulletin historique et littéraire (Société de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français). 26: 45–158. JSTOR 24288206.
  57. ^ Rouxel was nominated by King Henri III on 18 June 1578, but he never obtained his bulls and never entered into possession of the diocese. Fisquet, pp. 302-303.
  58. ^ Vassé was granted his bulls on 4 November 1579, and made his solemn entry into Lisieux on 3 May 1580. He died at the Château des Loges on 16 March 1583. Gallia christiana XI, p. 803. Fisquet, p. 303. Eubel, III, p. 224 with note
  59. ^ Anne's maternal uncle was Cardinal Claude de Givry, Bishop of Langres. Fisquet, pp. 303-305.
  60. ^ Medavy was the son of the Governor of Alençon and Perche. He was Canon of Paris and Abbot Commendatory of Cormeilles and of Saint-André en Gouffern. He was approved in Consistory by Pope Clement VIII on 17 March 1599, and took possession of the See on 25 March 1600. He died in Rouen on 8 August 1617. Fisquet, pp. 305-306. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 220.
  61. ^ Du Vair was royal Vice-chancellor. He was approved by Pope Paul V on 23 October 1617. Fisquet, pp. 306-310. Gauchat, IV, p. 220 with note 3.
  62. ^ A Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law), Aleaume had previously been bishop of Riez (1615–1622). He was approved in Consistory by Pope Paul V 14 March 1622. Fisquet, p. 310. Gauchat, IV, pp. 220, 294 with note 4.
  63. ^ Cospeau had previously been Bishop of Nantes (1621–1636). His nomination to Lisieux was made on 5 March 1635 by King Louis XIII, and the transfer was approved in Consistory by Pope Urban VIII on 28 January 1636. Fisquet, pp. 311-319. Gauchat, IV, p. 220 with note 5; 262.
  64. ^ Matignon had previously been Bishop of Coutances (1632–1646). Fisquet, pp. 320-322. Gauchat, IV, pp. 161, 220 with note 6.
  65. ^ Matignon was born at Thorigny in 1637, the son of the Governor of Basse-Normandie. He was Abbot Commendatory of Lessay and Dean of the Cathedral Chapter of Lisieux, as well as Councilor and Aumonier of the King. He was nominated to the diocese of Lisieux by King Louis XIV on 22 December 1674, and preconised (approved) by Pope Clement X on 27 May 1675. He was consecrated in Paris on 14 March 1677. He died in Paris on 14 July 1714. Jean, p. 356. Fisquet, pp. 322-324. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 243 with note 2.
  66. ^ Brancas was born at Pernes (Carpentras), the son of Henri, Marquis of Céreste. He was a doctor of theology (Paris, 1710). He served as Vicar General of Meaux. He was nominated by the King on 16 August 1714, and preconised by Pope Clement XI on 19 November 1714. His consecration took place in Paris on 13 January 1715. He died on 1 April 1760. Jean, p. 357. Fisquet, pp. 324-325. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 243 with note 3.
  67. ^ Condorcet was born in the château de Condorcet (diocese of Die), and held the licenciate in Canon Law (Paris). He had been Vicar General of Agen, and Archdeacon and Vicar General of Rodez. He was consecrated a bishop on 28 January 1742. He had previously been Bishop of Gap (1741–1754), and Bishop of Auxerre (1754–1761). He was a supporter of the Jesuits and the Bull Unigenitus, and an opponent of Jansenism and Voltaire. He died in Lisieux on 21 September 1783. Jean, p. 357. Fisquet, pp. 325-329. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 89 with note 2; 261 with note 2; 431 with note 3.
  68. ^ Ferronays had previously been Bishop of Saint-Brieuc (1770–1775) and Bishop of Bayonne (1775–1783). He was consecrated on 8 April 1770. He was nominated Bishop of Lisieux by King Louis XVI on 19 October 1783, and preconised (approved) by Pope Pius VI on 15 December 1783. He denounced the National Constituent Assembly for schism, and removed himself to Paris. In the Spring of 1791 he fled to Switzerland. He died in exile in Munich on 15 May 1799. Jean, p. 357-358. Fisquet, pp. 329-333. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 113 with note 5; 131 with note 4; 261 with note 3.


Reference works[edit]


Coordinates: 49°09′N 0°14′E / 49.15°N 0.23°E / 49.15; 0.23